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Educator Award History

2022 Recipients

Amanda Christensen

Leola Bullock Multicultural Award

About the Award: This award recognizes an LPS employee who has been an innovative leader and made a significant contribution to fostering understanding of our multi-cultural society through developing and implementing District programs.

Nomination By: Cheryl Richter, Principal at Fredstrom Elementary School

Nomination: Amanda is an amazing teacher who has grown and risen to the challenge to be a voice for all children and what they face in our current society of division and need to understand others. Amanda has been a quiet voice of her own story, which she shares when asked, about being a student of color in LPS and how that has impacted her as a teacher of color today. Amanda, a life-long learner herself, has worked to broaden our staff's perspectives and awareness, through reading, recommending, and challenging each of us to look deeper at our biases and thoughts. She is an emerging leader who has a strong belief system in the good of others to make solid decisions for students. She works with our administrative team to push us to look deeper at our school systems that pose bias for for students and allows us to have conversations about how we can change and grow in our support of students. She is a co-chair of our MTSS-B committee, and supports the work we do as a school to look at disproportionality in student behavior data. In her work in these areas, we, as an administrative team and staff, have been able to highlight areas that need improvements so all students are afforded the respect they deserve. Amanda is also an important member of our Equity Committee and her honest and straight forward sharing has been a huge impact on how we set goals for our own adult professional learning. Amanda is currently part of a district group of teachers of color that meet and discuss ways the district can help support them and bring new teachers to the district so LPS can have the diversity in staff that is seen in our students. Amanda is also part of the LPS Future Leaders Cadre and she has taken on some new initiatives in our building to help build up student voice in our students of color. She has invited our 4th and 5th grade students to meet weekly with her to talk about commonalities they experience at Fredstrom and in their community and how to work for change that will benefit our school and community as a whole. Amanda's commitment to this new student group is such that she has been doing a lot of future thinking on how this group will be able to impact lives of others and how her coaching can help to empower a stronger Fredstrom because of the work these students are capable of doing together. Amanda has questions inequities she has noticed in the district and has gone about seeking answers in a way that helps others look at things with new eyes. When Amanda noted a discrepancy in our Synergy system a few years ago, she brought the inquiry to administration to ask about it at the district level. She had a parent who had, by his own admission, not marked the racial data for his son in the system. As a default for reporting, the system automatically defaults to making the choice of "white" for the family. This instance of bias was questioned, questions were answered, but the system continues to remain the same due to further reaching circumstances. But, without Amanda's questioning, we would not have come to understand the "why" behind how some families are represented in our data. Amanda has also been a valued member of literature critique groups for the district reading program and she has been able to make valuable contributions to this group, as well, to allow students to see themselves in stories and cultures. Her voice has been instrumental in helping others' voices be heard, and for this, I submit this nomination on behalf of Amanda Christensen, who I believe is the embodiment of all the traits that Leola Bullock extended in her lifetime to make equality in education attainable for all students.

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